The Super Eagles of Nigeria on Thursday playing home at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo started the campaign of the 2026 world cup qualifier on a hopeless note as far less fancied Crocodiles of Lesotho forced the Victor Osimhen less team to a 1-1 draw in group C.
Fans spurred the Eagles ceaselessly for goal rain in a drab first half where Nigerian players frittered away scoring opportunities for a goalless half.
On resumption of play at the 56th minute, Bereng propped up a good assist to Bantu FC overlapping Defender, 29 year old Motlomelo Mkhwanazi who rifled home the curtain raiser and the Nigerian fans hung their drums as if they were in captivity in Babylon, stunned that lowly rated Lesotho will score Nigeria first at their home ground.
Taiwo Awoniyi and Lookman in whom hopes were placed for goals avalanche were quickly pulled out for Moses Simon and Moffi in the match where none fan approved goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho made no recorded save.
Stand-in Captain, Senior Man Kelechi Ihenacho playing strangely at the wings, taking the set pieces connected West Brom player, Oluwasemilogo Ajayi who brilliantly nodded home the equalizer at the 67th minute.
He was the only Nigerian player to get cautioned with the Yellow. Lesotho got three yellows from Bereng, Mkwanazi and Mohai.
Thrice have both teams clashed. Nigeria won 2-0 on 8th September 2007; also cut the tails of the Crocodiles 3-0 in an AFCON encounter on 30th March 2021 but the biggest win for Nigeria against Lesotho was the 4-2 recorded in Lesotho on 17th November 2019.
Four of the last five matches of Lesotho were in the regional competition in South Africa in July this year where Lesotho slapped Mozambique 1-0 on 10th July; lost to Angola 2-4 on 12th July; played 1-1 with Malawi on 14th July and lost 0-1 to Zambia on 16th July in the regional final. On 9th September 2023 the Elephants of Ivory Coast could only manage a 1-0 victory over Lesotho in Abidjan.
Nigeria had a 1-0 away win over Guinea Bissau on 27th March 2023; another 3-2 away win over Sierra Leone on 18th June and a lavishing 6-0 victory over Sao Tome on 10th September 2023 at Uyo all in the AFCON qualifiers. Had two international friendlies playing 2-2 draw with Saudi Arabia on 13th October and defeated Mozambique 3-2 on 13th October.
The Super Eagles will on Sunday at 1400 hours play the second match in the world cup campaign against the Warriors o Zimbabwe at Huye Stadium in Butare, Rwanda.
At that stadium this evening before 10,000 fans, Rwanda forced Zimbabwe to a goalless temporarily leaving no team on top in group C.
South Africa will meet Benin Republic on 18th November at 1500; Zimbabwe will host Nigeria on 19th November at 1500 in Rwanda; on 21st November, Lesotho will host Benin Republic at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa same day South Africa will play Rwanda at Butare before the break for the finals of the AFCON games in Ivory Coast from January to February 2024.
Eniola Olatunji reporting for Patmos Media Line
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